District 12

Balestier, Toa Payoh

Many Singaporeans think of District 12 as being a quiet little town. However, that perception no longer holds true since recent developments have transformed District 12 into a vibrant area made up of Toa Payoh and Balestier. It all started in March 2009 when The Arte at Thomson came on the market priced on average at S$880 psf. This was boosted to S$900 psf in May 2009 by City Developments Limited. 

Toa Payoh

Toa Payoh means “big swamp” in Hokkien, the local dialect. This is a clear reference to the large swamp that existed in this area before its development. In the early years, Toa Payoh was home to a huge squatter population of people who made their living farming the land and raising pigs. 

Despite its humble beginnings and the rugged environment of those early years, Queen Elizabeth II made a point of visiting Toa Payoh twice. She came once in 1972 and again in 2006 as part of her tours of the Commonwealth. In 1968 Toa Payoh New Town became HDB’s second satellite town and the primary shopping and entertainment centre for its residents. 

In addition to a slew of amenities in the area, there are a number of recreation and sports centres in Toa Payoh. These include the Singapore Tennis Association, the Toa Payoh Stadium, and the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex. You can also find SAFRA alongside Toa Payoh Stadium. 


Balestier is another prominent area in District 12, filled with shophouses, blocks of low-rise apartments, commercial structures, and shopping centres on Balestier Road. This is where you can find Shaw Plaza Balestier, famous for its eateries offering tasty local dishes. If you want to try tau sar piah (a fluffy bean jam pastry) we recommend dining at House of Tau Sar Piah. For delicious bak kut teh (pork rib soup), go to Founder Bak Kut Teh on Balestier Rd. 

Have any question or are looking to buy a property in District 12?